Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, a plan for a slow re-opening of California’s economy with the mindset that the state will be dealing with COVID-19 for the long haul.

“This Blueprint is statewide, stringent and slow,” said Gov. Newsom. “We have made notable progress over recent weeks, but the disease is still too widespread across the state. COVID-19 will be with us for a long time and we all need to adapt. We need to live differently. And we need to minimize exposure for our health, for our families and for our communities.”

Based on recent data, each county will fall into one of four colored tiers – Purple (Widespread), Red (Substantial), Orange (Moderate) and Yellow (Minimal) – based on how prevalent COVID-19 is in each county and the extent of community spread. That color will indicate how sectors can operate.

For example, in the Purple tier where the disease is widespread, restaurants can only operate outdoors. But once a county has achieved a lower level of disease transmission and moved into the Red (Substantial) tier, restaurants can operate with 25 percent capacity indoors or 100 patrons, whichever is fewer.

It relies on two leading health metrics: number of cases per 100,000 residents and percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive. In addition, counties will also be required to show they are targeting resources and making the greatest efforts to prevent and fight COVID in communities and with individuals with the highest risk, and demonstrate improvements in outcomes.

Counties must remain in every tier but purple for a minimum of 21 days before being eligible to move into the next tier. Each Tuesday, California will update each county’s data for the previous week and make corresponding changes to tiers. In order to move into a less restrictive tier, a county must meet that tier’s criteria for two straight weeks.

Conversely, counties that fail to meet the metrics for their current tier for two consecutive weeks must move to the next most restrictive tier. The plan also includes an “emergency brake” where the state can intervene more immediately for concerning factors like hospitalizations.

The Blueprint was unveiled days before the state opted to go with a new system for data collection of COVID-19 cases. The California Department of Public Health and California Department of Technology have opted to go with a new compnay to track all the statewide COVID-19 data after technical issues with CalREDIE caused a significant backlog in reporting of cases in August.

OptumInsight, Inc. has been selected to develop the state’s new COVID-19 data reporting system and will collect, track and report COVID-19 cases, supplementing California’s current disease registry system known as CalREDIE.

“Throughout this pandemic, our public health decisions are guided by science and data and we recognize the need for innovative and modern tools to get in front of COVID-19,” said Sandra Shewry, CDPH Acting Director. “We are taking meaningful action to update how we collect, analyze and report COVID-19 data, which is central to our ongoing statewide response and the actions local public health directors take every day to protect the health and wellbeing of Californians.”

The new standalone COVID-19 data reporting system, which was procured competitively, is a software solution built to manage the large volume of data currently tracked as a result of the pandemic. It is designed to help improve the efficiency of the system that receives data from laboratories and local public health departments and prepares data for reporting and analysis. Having up-to-date data is key for the state and counties in determing when businesses and schools can re-open.

“This tool will result in measurable progress to the data quality, management and overall efficiency of reporting California’s COVID-19 lab results,” said California Chief Information Officer and CDT Director Amy Tong. “This system will reduce labor-intensive collection processes and minimize delays in reporting data so that public health experts across the state have swift access to the tools and data they need to prevent COVID-19 transmission and respond to new cases and outbreaks.”

OptumInsight, Inc. is a global company that provides data, software and services to health care companies and government agencies to optimize their operations. CDPH has signed a renewable, 6-month, $15.3 million contract with the company to develop the data tool using funding from the federal Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases grant. The first phase of the new system will be up and running in October.

“Optum is honored to support the State of California’s efforts to collect and report COVID-19 data and help stem the spread of the virus. We are mobilizing our proven health IT capabilities to standardize, analyze, and publish COVID-19 test results and to provide public health officials with the quality data they need to make critical decisions and support communities across the state,” said Robert Musslewhite, CEO of OptumInsight, the health care technology business of Optum.